Minister defends professional army

The "very bloody experience" of Ukraine, which has a conscript army, shows that a professional army is more effective, according to Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis (Greens).

Appearing on Latvian Television's "Rīta Panorāma" Monday, Latvia's Defense Minister said that Latvia cannot afford conscription and that the condition of infrastructure is so bad that there are problems accommodating even professional forces. 

He went on to say that a professional army is more effective than one consisting of conscripts and that the "very bloody experience in Ukraine has testified to that". 

Bergmanis also praised Latvia's National Guard volunteers for trying to achieve a level similar to that of professional soldiers.

He said that Latvia's National Guard had been very well evaluated in the Anakonda exercises in Poland last year, where they were "estimated very highly competing with professional soldiers from other countries".

Latvia is the only Baltic state that has no compulsory military service. Lithuania reintroduced conscription last year responding to the perceived Russian threat.

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